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Road Rules

Guitarist Patty Larkin is a tour de force.

"I felt like it was fitting that I closed out the '90s with a live album of older material, because this new record is a tribute to other writing styles," she says. "There's an Appalachian-style song I do on a Stratocaster -- that's like my Roy Orbison song. And there's also some '60s-style samba stuff, and jazz and R&B. Ben [Wittman] got really into playing his lap-steel guitar with mallets and stuff, and he's really into world music, so some of the record even has a Middle Eastern vibe. It might seem like it's a little bit all over the place, but it's all me. Sometimes I feel like I'm taking these huge left turns -- playing samba, for instance. But then I go back and listen, and it's just, well, me doing samba. I've always been into different styles of music, so it just seemed like after reading a lot and listening to a lot of music, this is just what was next for me."

Along with more traveling, touring, taping -- and then repeating. More hotel rooms and gigs and strings of telephone conversations where she explains it all again. And glimpses of lives in lobbies, at the foot of stages, at gas stations and in diners stuck plumb down in the middle of nowhere. And the flicker of ideas, and the notes that surely follow.

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